For Orange Lutheran girls basketball player Mya Rodriguez, there’s nothing better than the rush she feels when hitting a three-pointer and hearing the cheers of the crowd. The Lancer shooting guard has been on the court since she was six years old, and out of the many activities and sports she tried at a young age, this was one that stuck.
“It’s not only just for my passion for it, but also for the camaraderie you get out of it,” says Rodriguez of basketball. “It’s very clearly a team sport, so I’ve been able to learn a lot through the years by playing…and meeting really great people.”
Rodriguez also spends time on the court as a member of the Lancers girls volleyball program. The two-sport varsity athlete has a unique perspective on playing two team sports that are vastly different, with close friends from both rosters.
“I think being able to play two sports...and being able to excel at two very different things means you’re able to think differently,” says the 17-year old junior. “I’ve been really blessed with being able to be with a really good group of girls.”
The timing of stay-at-home orders last spring due to the Covid-19 pandemic coincided for Rodriguez with chronic arthritis issues which kept her not only from being able to play either sport with her team, but also from training as she would have liked. She is receiving ongoing treatment and is thrilled to be back on the court playing in a basketball season that almost didn’t happen.
“Mya is an accountable, hardworking and selfless student athlete who gets it done on the court and in the classroom,” says girls basketball head coach, Lindsay Charity. “She maintains a 4.4 GPA, and is also one of our team captains. She is an integral part of our culture and a great representative of what OLu girls basketball stands for.”
Her favorite memory so far in playing Lancer basketball was the team’s Cinderella-style season that led to a CIF-SS championship in 2019. But win or lose, the game has taught Rodriguez plenty about an others-centered approach to life.
“In terms of basketball, you’ve got a whole team around you; you play for them; you do well for them; you care for them; you support them,” says Rodriguez. “It’s the same thing when you turn around and go home. You’ve got a family that loves you, and you’re not just doing life for yourself. It’s everyone else too.”
Rodriguez was recently selected to serve as OLu’s Ignite Co-President for next school year, a role which will allow her to not only have an impact on the incoming freshman class, but the leaders who will guide them. Her introduction to faith as a young age has shaped every aspect of her life, including athletics.
“One of the biggest things I’ve picked up over the years is that I’m playing for an audience of one,” says Rodriguez. “I really want to perform well for my teammates and my coaches. I want to make them proud. But at the end of the day, I play for an audience of one. His love doesn’t change based on how well you do or how bad you do. That’s one of the biggest things that has stuck with me as I’ve gone through this journey of being a student athlete.”
Rodriguez hopes to play basketball at the collegiate level and is thankful for the coaches who have been influential in her life, specifically OLu girls basketball assistant varsity coach and math and science teacher, Kara Dismuke ‘12.
“I can’t imagine not going to this school, because that’s means I would not have met her and my life would have been completely different,” says Rodriguez of Dismuke. “She has been one of the biggest parts of who I am now, and she’s helped me battle through a number of different things. I’m really lucky and blessed to have met her through basketball.”